After a flood of applications last year, Florida's private school vouchers program will begin accepting applications a month earlier than usual.
Officials for Step Up for Children, the organization that administers the vouchers, have moved up the start of the application period to March for the 2012-2013 academic school year.
Florida's private school vouchers program has expanded dramatically since its inception in 2001. It now offers scholarships to nearly 38,000 students, a 20 percent growth from the 2010-11 school year, in 1,189 schools. In Pinellas County, enrollment has doubled since 2008-09 — now, 1,134 students in 69 schools received vouchers.
Each voucher is worth $4,011, a drop from $4,106 in the previous year. Step Up for Children officials say the value decreased because of state budget cuts but anticipate it will rise by $200 in 2012-13.